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Carnal Casino
"Puzzle me this," the great goat said to all the world. "Come to me all who are bored and in need of fun. "We'll play a game to pass the time, or drink up the tarot's prophetic wisdom." I stood in wonder at the shadow of his checkered horns as he looked on at humanity's boredom with a seductive grin. His creator, now his servants drawing ever closer into his earthen maze of puzzles and play things. And yet beneath the carnival of the carnal, beneath time and space the eternal goat stood bound by his own device fashioned of earth and ivory. His prizes and pleasures, the field of broken futures long weathered by the feet of men; all was his sanctuary and curse. As he stood there seducing our wiles, I saw the great beast for who he truly was and felt the twinge of pity. Words of mystery and games a plenty his future history, ours one and the same.
Matt McClure
, (Author/Artist) Ft.Wayne, Indiana

Carnal Casino
Is this the beast, the one foretold? No, relax, he is only one of us, and yet… beware, nonetheless, for the wages here of sin are the ones foretold, plural deaths and though we cheat our way through the maze trusting luck as destiny, they alone remain. You know, a goat will eat anything, even you. And they're good at cards, dice, Scrabble, chess, Tarot, very good, but nothing, neither spirits nor genius win here. Yes, he is good at what he does, very good, this goat bearing your own name, the one who holding all the cards. But did you notice the chains? And how long have you been staring? Has he once moved? How long do you suppose he's been at this? And what chances are there when your body begins to meld with the game itself, your skin go mottled with the playing board's pattern, your vision blurred with obsession…. I know, I know, it all seems so clichéd and yet is not this, shocking as it seems, disgusting even, is this not what cliché is -- an animal frozen in art and surrounded by death which is, in the end, all cliché ever was, words reduced to lifelessness? You want real life? Then better gamble something more real than money. The real stakes lie elsewhere, driven through skin and sinew.
Marc Harshman, (poet & children’s author), Wheeling, West Virginia

Carnal Casino
Ancients tell how the Mote in Lucifer's eye fell, infected through
passing by a parallel world in the sky, deep into a distorted kind of
Hell. So there nurtured in the lively scene, the gambling piece grew to
adore sweet seventeen, the beauty Queen, and the speck of surreal jest
found content at the casino tables best.
To the click, the snap of cards the beat from some gun rotates the wheel
of fortune but now it felt the need to steal, in hope to gel into the
new aura to become but one , a beast it's true. Thereafter sprang the
Carnal Devil, cloven hooves topped by horns, never seen in the peace of
dawn but rather proud in artificial light, though games are glorified
always at night.
Many attempts failed to stem the lust for luck, with snapped-fast chains
of steel link but it only slows the way the feet turned, and never
curbed the lazy eye acting like the random three symbols of a fruit
machine. Remember notes to stop the transformation to the Devil falls
and then to the calls, large letters are gone, ripped to shreds albeit
scattered to the winds, a test.
Go, venture in the brave skirmisher, he who might lock horns with this
creature out of the harrowed fields, perhaps a corn dolly come alive or
a scarecrow chum torn asunder. Not those champions full of greed but
rather a spot of random deed to halt the wild contorted gene that exists
as the gambler supreme.
Sign the pledge, you hear me call. Don't let words on deaf ears fall.
-Cleveland W. Gibson, (Author of Billabongo) Faringdon, United Kingdom